In the last day or two there’s been a number of weblog-based attacks on Jakob Nielson. I don’t understand why. His useit.com is the No. 1 place to go for information on usability as far as I can see.
I’ve been thinking about the longer term aspects of keeping my site in order and adding value to the information I’ll be spitting out. I haven’t arrived at any conclusions yet, but the link to follow if you’re interested in hypertext theory and practice, or just the best damn weblog on the net is Robot Wisdom, Jorn Barger’s web site.
I have my web page set to a width of 600 pixels. This should keep the text within the optimum reading length for most font sizes on most displays. My intro page yesterday paradoxically needs greater than 800 pixels on my monitor, yet will work just fine on an ancient terminal using Lynx. Welcome to the web. Don’t like it? Take control.
Not enough people take control of their experience, which is why I’ve set the page width. I don’t want y’all out there with 19 and 21″ monitors giving yourself an eye strain injury. Learn to resize your window, don’t just maximise.
Don’t like it? Get a better browser that’ll let you break out of the page designer’s tyranny. I use Opera, which’ll let me turn Table formatting off, amongst other things. Internet Explorer has a few features that show what a user-centred browser could be like. Opera has more. I’m going to propose some here.
UNIX has had smart command line completion for decades. Why can’t browsers? IE and Netscape aren’t up to snuff. Opera actually hinders you in this area by using Titles rather than addresses.
Email clients have address processing. Why can’t I, in my browser, say “I don’t want you to remember any subaddresses to this site” (for instance, sites that use dynamic addressing) or “I don’t want you to remember this address” (for instance, when you make a typo)? Similarly I want better control over cookies.
An addressing system for frames. Frames are evil, but they’re a fact of life. Why can’t we yet have an addressing system for them like http://www.fnord.com/frameset.html?top=banner.html&middle=content.html&bottom=addressbar.html?
A way to get at HTTP headers, cookies and the like. Sometimes some people want to know what’s going on. A way to edit this information would be handy too.
MDI. A gazillion browser windows are unacceptable. I want more control. Opera has made a good start, but I need it to remember more about what state I left my workspace in.
More control over how things are displayed. Opera allows me to turn off redirects or spawning windows. I’d also like to be able to break windows out of frames.
More control over how things are displayed, redux. Opera allows me to zoom in and out on a document. How about split screens too, so I can see the beginning and end of a document? And what about allowing me to specify what size I want the window?
Smarter caching. The performance of IE5, for instance, is very poor today. If I’ve specified that something used the cached version, it’d be nice if the browser could check if it differs from the served version in the background and give me a notification and choice to get the new one.
Persistent histories. That window which I spawned three minutes, yesterday, whenever, I’d love to know where it came from. Why should windows lose their history when you close the browser or spawn a new window?
A lot more control. What else?
We need better tools too. WYSIWIG tools today are a complete joke. Both Microsoft and Netscape are working on better solutions, but will they be any good? We need proactive tools.
Tell me not to stuff a page with fat graphics. Tell me that that tag will break this browser. Make it clear how important good microcontent such as Titles and link text is.
Don’t let your users make any more framesets. Face it, frames are evil. They go against two fundamentals of the web, bookmarking and printing. We have a solution tomorrow. It’s called using fixed position Divisions. Netscape 5 will be able to do it. We need the editors to do it too.
It’s there on the front pages of the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, our own Age and News Corporation, and many more. The world knows Australia chose the monarchy. The world knows Australia chose the Queen. The real story lies elsewhere, but that’ll be an immediate public perception now around the world.
We’re now living in an Australia clearly divided. A bit over half voted ‘No’. A bit over half voted ‘Yes’. (BTW I’m part of the 1% that voted informal. No one’s interested in talking about us.) Plenty of people saying that they would’ve voted ‘Yes’ if the question had been about a republic rather than this republic.
It seems ridiculous to think that the Queen will be making a statement to the press about her role in Australia’s future. I say we force John Howard to let her open the Olympic Games. Fuck him, she’s our Head of State. (Johnny should be watching out. The No Campaign wasn’t against a Republic, but against politicians. What a great victory for him that must be.) At least we’re in good company. Elizabeth’s also the Queen of fifteen other nations.
I’m actually surprised by the depth of feeling that’s suddenly come out over this. I’m surprised and kind of happy. This is the Australian way. My friends did quietly pay attention. Now they’re revealing their colors and oft with colorful language. The Age is institutionally attacking the ‘No’ voters and I’m surprised and disappointed by their insipid characterisations. How can the media judge the voter’s intents? Their polls were all over the place last week.
Some of the foreign press managed not to forget the Preamble, usually inserting a short paragraph at the end of their stories. They seem to have the idea that we rejected a Preamble that recognised the Aboriginals. They don’t say much. Have they said to much? What will people think? Will we also be racists in the eyes of the world? And what will we do to make it not be true?
Now that it looks like we’ll remain a monarchy for another decade, let’s look at other solutions to remedy our situation. The Queen has said she’ll do her best to do what’s right by Australia. So I say that we petition the British Government to have her dethroned as the Queen of Britain. They have the power to do that, you know. She’d still be the Queen of Australia (I don’t believe we have any mechanism for removing her. Perhaps under our inherited British laws?) and we could nationalise her. She could swear allegiance to herself! How cool is that? She could live in Queensland.
We learnt a few things under the State of Jeff.
When we nab the Queen I suggest we nab a few more important world features. The Pope; he could live in Adelaide – the City of Churches. A few more Grand Prix; we could deposit them strategically around Victoria and Canberra – no more “coming down the straight” there!
Take our future in our hands. We voted against the Preamble. I’d like to think we whomped Howard. (Better than the alternatives: apathy, racism.) How about this for real move towards reconciliation: we make Albury-Wodonga our capital. Like America, our names are those of the British and the natives of our country, but those names don’t mean much. Let’s make them mean something. The symbolism doesn’t end there. Albury-Wodonga sits astride the might Murray river. Albury-Wodonga bridges NSW and Victoria.
I propose a unit of measurement for the number of times a reporter to gets a piece of bullshit off of the internet and onto the front page of a respected news source. I dub this unit, the “Ron”, in honour of Ron’s Angels, the subject of a mistake by the New York Times (warning: frames). Clock up too many rons and you’re out.
I hope no one accumulates any rons over anything I say.
The media are getting increasingly sloppy, which is increasingly worrying, as it’s increasingly easy to find out and tell the world that they’re wrong. Go the internet.
Can we value depth over than headlines?
They’re sitting at a restaurant table.
They’re standing outside on the footpath.
They’re waiting for a train.
They’re having a quiet one in the pub.
I pull out Dave’s Patented Anti-Personnel Smoke and spray in the fuckers’ direction.
They have to smell like shit for the rest of the day.
They have to cough.
They have to wash their clothes.
I have a dream.
Like the poor Preamble, the seat of Holt was forgotten by everyone including the AEC in their first ever virtual tallyroom. Polly Morgan is the Science, Technology & Multimedia Spokesperson for the Victorian Democrat and a good friend living in Melbourne. She did quite well in the Holt By-election. (It took me a while to find that out. Fuck knows why the AEC have the Holt By-election results at their Referendum tallyroom.)
Her name looks good in the Two Candidate Preferred box. I expect to see more of that in the future.
My friend Daniel Berk ran the campaign.
Daniel previously ran for the Victorian Upper House seat of Eummemering, while Polly ran for Waverly. Before that Polly ran for the Federal Upper House seat of Hotham (warning: ActiveX).
Like the Doctor, I’m more political than I thought.